Ponies Win Nail Biter Against Timberwolves
February 6, 2020
The Monticello Ponies boys basketball team played host to the Golden Eagles of Barneveld on January 28th.
After two and a half minutes of play in the first half, the game was tied 4-4. The Ponies then went on a 19-2 run to put them ahead by 17 with under 7 minutes left in the first half. By halftime, the Ponies had a commanding 31-10 lead. Barneveld never got any closer than 16 points the rest of the game and the Ponies won the game 69-24.
Reece Rufer led the team with 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Devin Holtz scored 14 points, Rudy Wicker scored 10 points and Simon Blohowiak scored 10 points and had 8 rebounds. Peter Gustafson had 10 rebounds for the night.
"I thought we were very focused and played with great heart," said Coach Mark Olson. "We held them to 24 points defensively, which is their lowest total of the season. It was a good win to create a little more space in the race for first in the conference."
On January 31st, the Ponies, who are sitting in first place in the Six Rivers East division, headed to Patch Grove for a Six Rivers Conference crossover game against the River Ridge Timberwolves, leader of the Six Rivers West division of the conference. This game was a nail biter and the two teams exchanged the lead several times throughout the game. In the first half the largest lead the Ponies had was by 3 points, compared to River Ridge's at 4 points, and they were tied four times. By halftime, the Ponies were leading by 2, 26-24. The second half was just as intense, with a total of nine ties between the two teams. Monticello's largest lead of the second half was 6 points with River Ridge's largest lead being 3. Tied at 54 with less than two minutes left, Peter Gustafson hit two free throws and Reece Rufer hit four free throws to put the Ponies up by 6. With 19 seconds left, the Timberwolves hit a 2-pointer but that's as close as they got and the Ponies won the game, 60-56.
"Friday night we took the long trip to River Ridge, who had won their last 12 consecutive games, for the first place crossover game for the Six Rivers Showdown," commented Coach Olson. "It was a back and forth game throughout. We held a 2-point lead at halftime, but through three-quarters of the game had given up 33 points to their leading scorer, Cole Crubel. Over the last 8 minutes of the game we held him to 4 points. We didn't make it easy on ourselves by missing 18 free throws, including 10 in the second half, but we did enough to hang on for the 60-56 win."
The Ponies hosted Benton on February 3rd and will play at Juda on February 6th before returning home to host Palmyra-Eagle, who is currently undefeated in the Trailways-South conference, and 12-2 overall.